By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — Youths, under the aegis of Niger-Delta Self Determination Movement, NDSDM, have insisted that their demand to have 100 per cent control of oil resources in the region must be granted by the 2014 national conference or else they embark on secession pursuit.
They also faulted the position of former Federal Commissioner of Information and Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, on a document which was circulated to delegates to the conference, Tuesday, stating their demand.
It would be recalled that Clark on the same day, rose on the floor of the conference and dissociated himself from the paper.
He denied any knowledge of the document, submitting that Nigeria would remain one indivisible entity. But his action drew the ire of some youths of the area.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, a member of NDSDM, Biebele Aremie, said it was within the right of the youths in the region to press home their demands when their elders refused to intervene.
He said the document was a direct response to the north’s stand on oil derivation.
He said: “We drafted the document that was presented before the conference members. The document was brought to the national conference because it is a reaction to the northern position, what the north called their northern agenda that was distributed to the delegates.
“We, as intellectuals and activists from the Niger Delta, we had to consult very widely even on live radio phone-in programmes in Port Harcourt where people had to call and express their position. We demanded to know from people what their reaction is as it regarding the Niger Delta people and their future.
”So, it is pertinent at this time to state that the position of the north in their document was very clear: that the issue of derivation was going to be reduced from 13 per cent to either zero per cent or at most five per cent. We are asking for 100 per cent resource ownership.”
Faults Clark’s position
Aremie faulted Chief Clark’s open condemnation of the document, regretting that Clark did not speak up when it mattered most, when the north declared their stand on derivation.
He said: ”With due respect to our father and grand father, Papa E.K. Clark, this document originated from the Niger Delta and it belongs to the Niger Delta. In due course, you will hear more and more people react to Chief Clark’s position.
“It is also important to state that in 1999 when the Ijaw had Kaiama Declaration, our father and grandfather, Chief E.K. Clark denied and rejected it. Then much more later, he came to own up to the declaration. So, it is not strange to us.
”Our position is very clear. If the north is demanding zero per cent for the Niger Delta, we are demanding a 100 per cent ownership of our resources or we have an alternative.
“The alternative is based on the African Peoples Charter and the United Nations Charter as it has to do with self determination. We shall proceed to international community peacefully to demand for self determination.”